Nepal Telecom is preparing to begin the country’s first 5G technology trials in June, according to the company.
According to the telecom executives, if everything goes according to plan, the much-anticipated 5G technology would be available for commercial use by the end of this fiscal year, which ends in mid-July 2022.
Initially, Nepal Telecom planned to begin testing in mid-July 2021, but authorities indicate that the changes in the administration have caused the schedule to be pushed back.
Nepal now has 4G networks, which were developed in January of this year.
The fifth-generation, or 5G, technology standard for cellular broadband networks provides quicker connections, higher throughput, and greater capacity than the fourth-generation (4G) technology standard, and will be especially beneficial in high-traffic locations such as public places.
Nepal’s telecom regulator, the Nepal Telecommunications Authority, filed a proposal to the National Frequency Determining Committee on February 1, 2018, requesting approval to authorize 5G operations in the country.
It is possible, according to the government, to employ 5G bands on existing ones. According to the policy of the technology-neutral concept, an operator can utilize 3G, 4G, or 5G on the same band by receiving authorization from the relevant government.
The authorities will supply spectrum to telecom operators at no cost in order for them to conduct 5G trials, and they will not be able to charge users during the testing time. The experiment will last for one year.
On November 22, Nepal Telecom said that it had gotten approval from its regulator for the allocation of spectrum as well as for a testing of the technology.
It formed a task force to work on the 5G trial preparations in mid-December and began working on it shortly after.
Minu Pradhan, head of the Wireless Service Directorate at Nepal Telecom, said in an interview with the Post that if everything goes according to plan, “we would commence the trial in several sites over the next six months.”
According to Pradhan, the vendors have provided full proposals, which contain bills of materials and quantities, design, and technical parameters that will be used in the test, among other things. “It will be studied by the task force, and then the plan will be finalized,” she stated.
“We want to have the proposal finalized by the end of next week.” Immediately following finalization of the project, we will begin importing equipment for testing.”
Officials, on the other hand, have stated that the project may be delayed due to the emergence of complications in global shipping lines as a result of the new variation Omicron.
“For the time being, everything is running nicely. “However, we are concerned that Omicron would have an influence on the plan,” Pradhan said. “According to the suppliers, if there is no obstruction, it will take around three months for the goods to arrive.”
Nepal Telecom has been assigned a frequency range of 2600 MHz by the telecom authority for the trial period.
The private operator Ncell has also shown interest in participating in 5G testing, but insiders claim that the regulator has not responded to its proposal.
Ncell had submitted to the FCC in September of last year, requesting permission to conduct 5G network experiments. After receiving notification from the regulator, Ncell announced that the Radio Frequency Policy Determination Committee will be reviewing the company’s 5G plans. However, according to sources with knowledge of the situation, there has been no answer to date.
It is required that 5G tests be carried out in both rural and urban areas, according to the Trial Working Procedure. During the trial time, the telecom operator will not be able to charge customers and will not be required to pay any frequency charges.
On a number of times, members of the Development and Technology Committee of the House of Commons have expressed their dissatisfaction with the services provided by Nepal Telecom.
According to the parliamentary committee, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and Nepal Telecom are required to submit a clear operating procedure, which includes a plan for 5G technology, within 30 days.
According to a statement made in the previous fiscal year, Nepal Telecom had filed a working procedure to the committee under which it will expand its 4G networks to include all local levels throughout the country. The 4G network, on the other hand, is still unavailable to 43 local levels.
Despite the fact that the number of customers of Nepal Telecom is expanding at an exponential rate, the committee found that the quality of service and the construction of infrastructure are both insufficient.
Based on data from the Nepal Telecommunications Authority’s management information system (MIS), there were 22,52 million voice telephone service subscribers as of mid-November 2021, an increase from the previous year’s figure of 20,63 million at the same time period in 2020.
The number of 3G customers on Nepal Telecom’s network reached 10.16 million as of November 2021, up from 8.43 million during the same time in 2020. It had 7.48 million 4G users as of mid-November 2021, compared to 2 million at the same point in the previous year.